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Jealousy in Othello1 - Shakespeare is prominent in his use...

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Shakespeare is prominent in his use of recurring themes throughouthis works, particularly those of love, death, and betrayal.All thesethemes are present in Othello.Most para- mount, however, isjealousy.Jealousy runs the characters’ lives in Othello from thebeginning of the play, when Roderigo is envi- ous of Othello becausehe wishes to be with Desdemona, and to the end of the play, whenOthello is furious with envy because he believes Cassio andDesdemona have been engaging in an affair.Some characters’jealousy is fashioned by other charac- ters.Iago is involved in muchof this, creating lies and imple- menting misleading situations.He isconsumed with jealousy of Cassio and masked with hatred of Othellobecause he was not chosen as lieutenant, Cassio was.Iago is selfishin that he wants everyone to feel as he does so he engineers thejealousy of other characters.Iago is a man blinded by envy andanger, with a goal in mind for everyone to become equally jealous,which aim he completes through his betrayal and manipulation ofcharacters, specifically Othello. Shakespeare’s Othello begins withthe confinement of Roderigo in Iago.Roderigo so desperately lovesDesdemona and he pays Iago to woo her away from Othello.Thisscene is significant in that it immediately portrays Iago as a villain.Along with his actions, what Iago says also conveys him as amanipu- lative character.Iago has constructed a plan to exploitOthello as a thief by saying that Othello has stolen Desdemona’sheart using witchcraft.Iago persuades Roderigo to confront herfather, Brabantio.He tells Roderigo, “Call up her father, Rousehim…poison his delights…do, with like timorous accent and direyell,” (I. i. 64-65, 72). Iago is actually not particularly concerned withwhat is in Roderigo’s heart at all, meaning Iago does not care thatRoderigo loves Desdemona and wishes to be with her. His intentionsare not to help Roderigo seek Desdemona but to have Brabantioafter Othello because it will cause him, Othello, distress.Iago is very good at saying the right things to people, mis- leadingthem to get the reaction he wants out of them.He is clever in hisdiction to avoid confrontation that can easily erupt. Haim Omer andMarcello Da Verona in their article “Doctor Iago’s treatment ofOthello” provide an example of Iago’s manip- ulation when he andRoderigo confront Brabantio about his daughter.Brabantio does notbelieve what the two say about Desdemona, calling it absurd, andhe becomes angry because he has been woken up in the middle ofthe night.Omer and de Verona recognize that Roderigoimmediately starts to explain and justify his accusations, which onlyangers Brabantio even more.Iago, on the other hand, responds byactually compli- menting Brabantio (1). Brabantio yells, “Thou art a
villain” to which Iago responds, “You are a senator” (I. i. 115-116).

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Term
Winter
Professor
Sherien-Lobna-Dalia

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